Government announces new advertising rules in bid to reduce childhood obesity

The government has unveiled a raft of new advertising regulations in a bid to tackle childhood obesity.  

The new rules will require advertisements for food and drink products in the high fat, salt and sugar categories (HFSS) on TV and UK on-demand programming to air between the watershed hours of 9pm to 5:30am.  

However, the healthiest foods in each category will still be allowed to air pre-watershed, which includes products such as honey, avocado, marmite and olive oil.  

The TV and online restrictions could remove up to 7.2 billion calories from children’s diets per year in the UK which, over the coming years, could reduce the number of obese children by more than 20,000.  

“We are committed to improving the health of our children and tackling obesity,” Public Health minister Jo Churchill said. 

READ MORE: Local shops exempt from ban on junk food adverts

A public consultation reveals that 79 per cent of respondents support a 9pm watershed for HFSS food and drink, with 74 per cent wanting to see these restrictions extended to online advertisements.  

“The content youngsters see can have an impact on the choices they make and habits they form. With children spending more time online it is vital we act to protect them from unhealthy advertising,” Churchill continued.  

“These measures form another key part of our strategy to get the nation fitter and healthier by giving them the chance to make more informed decisions when it comes to food. 

“We need to take urgent action to level up health inequalities. This action on advertising will help to wipe billions off the national calories count and give our children a fair chance of a healthy lifestyle,” Churchill concluded.  

The restrictions will not apply to businesses producing or selling HFSS products with 250 employees or fewer. 

The rollout of the new regulations will be handled by The Office of Health Promotion. 



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